Imagine the sensation of realizing that you’re unprepared for a test – that you’ve been studying the wrong subject. It was sort of like that when pianist Maria Joao Pires heard the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra begin to play Mozart’s D minor piano concerto. She had thought she’d be playing a different concerto by Mozart on that mid-day concert. The resulting confusion was caught on tape, as part of a documentary.
It goes to show the importance of a lifetime of disciplined practice and muscle memory, while the orchestra plays the introduction, she composes herself, and lets her fingers do what they know. The moment is captured in the documentary called Attrazione d’amore, by film maker Frank Scheffer, about the Royal Concertgeboew Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Chailly, as they prepare for a concert with music by Mahler and Mozart. 45 seconds into the clip below you can see the moment when Pires hears the unexpected introduction.